New airport and fleet upgrades lead this week’s air travel news.
This week American Airlines announced plans to expand its Five Star Service to four additional airports. The new service began August 1 at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) in Texas, Nashville International Airport (BNA) in Tennessee and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey, to be followed by a rollout at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) on August 9.
The service is a personalized airport experience available to customers traveling in a premium cabin that offers travelers priority check-in, expedited security screening, access to the Admirals Club, an escort to their gate and other customizable experiences tailored to their interests.
Air France – KLM announced plans to upgrade the Air France short- and medium-haul fleet with a firm order of 60 A220-300 aircraft, with 30 options and 30 acquisition rights. The new aircraft will gradually replace the airline’s existing A318 and A219 fleet, with the first of the new aircraft to be delivered in September 2021. The airline said the new aircraft would reduce its environmental footprint, generating 20 percent less CO2 emissions than comparable aircraft. The airline also announced plans to completely phase out its remaining A380s, citing high fuel per seat costs and emissions. Five A380s are currently owned by the company, while two are leased.
In its second quarter earnings results, Air Canada released its update on its plans for the grounded Boeing 737 Max. The airline says that it will remove the plane from its schedule until at least January 8, 2020.
“At present, we have no visibility on reliable timing for the return to service of the Boeing 737 MAX as we await regulatory approvals,” said Calin Rovinescu, president and CEO of Air Canada. “If the aircraft are returned to service earlier, we would look for opportunities to have some enter the fleet for either replacement flying or as back-ups."
Finally, in onboard entertainment news, Delta announced plans to add a number of Hulu shows to its offerings, including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Act and the Fyre Fraud documentary. The airline reports it also recently equipped its 700th aircraft with in-flight entertainment screens.